Tuberculosis Elimination and Implementation Science Group

Heads: Dr Suman Majumdar and Dr Philipp du Cros

Tb physician dr. stenard hiashiri reviewing a chest x ray of a patient with tuberculosis 510x288

Overview

Tuberculosis (TB) is a curable disease but is the world’s leading infectious disease killer, driving health inequity in communities. The spread of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) is an urgent threat to global and individual health security.

Burnet is committed to working towards the ambitious global targets to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030 through partnerships, community engagement, and accelerating the implementation of innovation and research.

To eliminate TB, it is critical to first address DR-TB as a crisis and threat to global health security.

Our focus is on the Asia-Pacific region which carries the majority of the global TB burden. Utilising our breadth and depth in research, international development and public health, we are providing support to national TB programs to strengthen health systems, design and evaluate programs and build capacity for operational research.

Objectives

The TB working group will contribute towards the global targets to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030 through partnerships, community engagement, technical assistance to national programs and accelerating the implementation of innovation and research.

Our specific aims are to:

  • Engage with the TB-affected community and key populations to identify their needs, empower them to be at the forefront of the response and inform our work

  • Address drug-resistant tuberculosis as a crisis and threat to global health security

  • Address TB in key populations: people living with HIV, children and adolescents with TB, people who use drugs, migrants and refugees

  • Establish and strengthen partnerships with governments, national TB programs, academic institutions, reference laboratories, civil society and implementing partners working to end TB

  • Support governments and funders to optimise resource allocation decisions and efficiency, using modelling and software tools

  • Enhance surveillance systems for TB to identify hotspots and drivers of transmission including molecular epidemiology, geo-spatial mapping and new technologies (electronic data systems and mobile health)

  • Conduct discovery research to develop a point-of-care test and a test to determine priority of treatment

  • Strengthen health systems for TB, including laboratory capacity in resource-limited settings

  • Implement and evaluate integrated, community-based TB elimination strategies in low-resource settings that use a comprehensive (search-treat-prevent) approach 


  • Provide technical assistance to national TB programs
in program design, evaluation, implementation support and training


  • Training and capacity building for operational research within country programs and national research institutes. 


Highlights

Papua New Guinea has been increasingly recognised as a hotspot for TB and drug-resistance. The RID-TB project continues to make significant progress towards combatting the major DR-TB outbreak on Daru Island in the Western Province, which has rates that are among the highest reported globally.

The Burnet Institute is a key technical partner in the PNG governments’ emergency response to DR-TB working in collaboration with partners funded by the Australian Government, including World Vision.

At the field level, our team has:

  • supported improvements in clinical care and case management

  • improved the diagnostic and treatment capacity of the hospital

  • improved patient care and support in the community

  • strengthened routine data systems

  • supported planning and coordination.

Excellent patient outcomes are now being seen, with the vast majority on path to cure.

Our aim is to accelerate change through interventions that are informed and driven by the local stakeholders and community. Burnet has a major focus on building local health worker capacity and strengthening systems to sustain the response.

We are engaging and empowering the TB affected community through a pilot model of patient education and counselling (PEC) that trains a team of peer-counsellors or “TB-PALS” (People Affected by, Living with, or having Survived TB).

Projects